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Whither IBM?

Big Blue has plans to merge storage and server divisions. Are they doing the right thing?

Over the past two years Big Blue has seen a near revolution in its position in the market place. Linda Sanford, senior vice president of the IBM Storage Systems Group attributes the group's success to three factors. First is that "[IBM] really focused on building a storage strategy and roadmap driven off of customer requirements and pain points," she said. The other factors Sanford cites include investments in technology and IBM's ability to sell a total solution.

Enterprise Storage Group Analyst Arun Taneja notes, the company went from having some of the weakest products in the market place to having recently shipped their 10,000th Shark system. "On the NAS side they have their act together with a solid position on the low end," said Taneja. He also credits Sanford for focusing Tivoli's product set and overseeing the acquisition of Trellis. "All of these moves individually have made sense and, in combination have helped power IBM's market share growth," said Taneja.

Now, however, Taneja worries about the future of the group. Last month IBM announced that at the end of the year, Sanford would be tapped to head the company's e-business on demand initiative. But, Taneja is not just worried about a change of guard. At the same time, IBM plans to recombine storage and servers in one business group.

"I can't see how that can help them," says Taneja, "the IBM server people won't really see the point of making sure the storage products work with those of other vendors."

"If your intent is to produce storage products that are open system oriented and will attach to Sun and various Intel-based products then you can't just bury that inside a server group," added Taneja.

For more information:

Featured article: IBM overhauls NAS, storage arrays

Featured article: IBM's merged groups might not bode well for storage

Technical tip: IBM enhances Fibre Channel switch family

  • Alan Earls often writes about things NAS and SAN in his weekly "SAN/NAS Update: Trends" column. View the latest
  • About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, MA.

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